Friday, April 12, 2013

About vegans...

I have a problem with some of them. I truly do. Not because of their philosophy but because of their attitude. Being vegetarian myself for 18 years and pesceterian for the last few I know it alignes you with a certain stereotype, even if I don't eat meat simply because I don't like it. During this years I've gotten a lot of sh*t, mostly from meat eaters, trying to question my lifestyle even if my lifestyle is simple: eat what you like. I don't think my lifestyle is the best one and I don't try to promote it by convincing others to follow it.

Lemon Herb Tofu, Sesame Tofu Sticks, Emerald K...
Lemon Herb Tofu, Sesame Tofu Sticks, Emerald Kale, Gardein Chicken Salad, Gardein Curry Chicken Salad, Gardein Sonoma Chicken Salad, Golden Sesame Tofu, Grilled Sweet Chili Tofu, and Pumpkin Wheatberry Pilaf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It became even worse when I was eating fish, because then also some vegetarians joined the grilling. I understand, it's not just a choice, it's an identity and it needs to be protected. But does it have to be imposed? After all, it's not a sect. I think everyone knows best what's good for them. Sure, some people don't live very healthy but in this day and age of information, one cannot assume this is so due to lack of information. I'd guess it's mostly because of insufficient financial conditions but can be also many other reasons. The bottom line is, there's a big difference between sharing information about health/food and stuffing that information down someone's throat.

Now to be fair, I have met vegans that are happy with their lifestyle and aren't trying to "educate" you or show you the right way.  But most of others has tred to teach everyone else by using rather agressive means of persuasion and almost implying every not-vegan person is nothing but a plain animal killer/hater or at least someone that doesn't care about their health. It's either by making 'casual' half-accusing righteous comments when non-vegan things are mentioned or engaging in a ferocious discussion about veganism, onine and offline, with friends and strangers. And I don't mean argument based dialogue, but rather angry convincing escapade, disguised in education. It's all about taking responsibility and saving animals.

I understand all the problems with mass production of meat, how it effects environment and people's health. But there are many ways on how to tackle with this and veganism is only one of them and in my opinion also not the best one. To be fair- veganism is middle class/bourgeois life style because it's expensive. Working class and poor people can't afford to buy expensive supplements, they can mostly afford industrial meat and occasionally meat from organic farms. Some people, who can afford to take a stand on this, choose to eat only meat from small farmers and food is bio, eco, organic etc. But not everyone can afford this. Hoewever everyone should be able to decide for themselves what is the best way for him/her.

Besides this there are also consequences of increasing popularity of veganism: prices of basic foods, rich in protein (e.g- quinoa) are rising in their countries of origin (e.g.Bolivia), causing the poor people like farmers (who lived on it for centuries) to starve, because they can't afford it anymore. So basically the healthy lifestyle of the West has consequences for poorest people in developing countries. But Veganism isn't primarily concerned with people, it's concerned with animals.

Now I have vegan friends of both types (maybe after they read this I will have to use past tense). Some are really sweet and don't bring veganism up every time you eat or mention food but some are just as eager about educating me as they are about veganism. And unfortunately the stupid veganism is affecting our friendship. Of course I'm not against veganism, I like some of vegan food, just not enough to live on it. I choose not to be vegan and want others to respect that choice and give me enough credit to be able make it. After all, I will be the one responsible for its consequences and if I can live with it, the others will have to too.
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alcessa said...

Oh yeah, food as ersatz religion :-( Hate that, too. Preaching vegans, preaching paleo eaters, adding value to their lifestyle choices by denigrating the Others ... Bad taste and bad behavoiur, if you ask me.

Actually, I think the most important goal in everyone's life should be much broader than choosing the right food and then stuffing one's decision down others' throat ... Out primary goal in life should be to learn as much about life (and Universe and all the Fish :-)) as possible and in the process become as adult as possible.

By saying adult I don't mean boring and I certainly don't mean spiessig (you will know how important that German word really is, no?) - I mean wiser and more knowledgeable, without pointing out other people's deficits to prove it :-(

Just like your way .... Everything else is CRAP.

Cherry said...

I totally agree. But having said that I am also aware not everyone is in a position where they can afford to think about life and universe (and the dolphins, fish and flying sofas :=)

I'm lucky enough to be able to do so and thankful for it. And I like your vision of adulthood too.

alcessa said...

You are right, thinking about things is not everybody's (chosen) luxury/possibility, but people who concentrate on belittling other people's lifestyle choices do have time, ability etc. to do so.
Well, in my book, they should.
If you claim you are a better person, you should at least have the decency to think about it critically. And even doubt it, from time to time. There's no such thing as "World's Next Halo Model", so ...

That said, I read some time ago in Spiegel vegans are getting more relaxed. As in: there are vegan mothers who nowadays allow their daughters to eat meat (:-( )and there are even vegans who put in carnivore days to eat bacon ...

What I seriously like about veganism are foodstuffs they use and recipes they've come up with in the recent years. For example, I have made an avocado chocolate cake and cashew cream and I find both absolutely addictive! Also, I generally don't like how cheese will sometimes feel in my stomach and if I could, I'd love to eat raw veggies on most days ... That, and my self-made bread :-)

But it's not only vegans ... Some time ago I suddenly discovered I can despise a newborn paleo eater who's afraid of her decision just about enough to attack other food preferences strongly, to feel better about her vein stuffing meat consumption :-(

As if it wasn't obvious that we are all different enough to prefer/be able to eat only certain foods but not the others ...

(we almost always have fish at home cause my hubby likes it from time to time, but I haven't developed any lust for it so far, so I am not eating it - that way, he gets more :-)

Chan88 said...

Hey Karmen,

Totally agree! I've been a vegetarian for most of my time here in HK.

Only thing I don't agree with is vegetarianism being in any way responsible for rising food prices. I think an unsustainable food production model where most of the crops produced serve as fodder for animals production schemes is responsible.

Hit me up on skype or FB. Would love to talk to you about it =)


Cherry said...

@alcessa, I totally agree! I've also heard weird stories about people trying to turn their cats and dogs vegan but i honestly hope those are just urban myths. And yes, there's some awesome vegan recipes (i definitely want that one with avocado chocolate cake). Sometimes I find myself cooking vegan food without realising but when it comes to certain things like coffee/tea with milk, I have to say no to vegan. I've tried it and hate it. And until today i didn't even know there's such thing as paleo eaters :)

@Chan88 Maybe I put it too broad. Of course I don't mean that vegetarianism and veganism are connected to food crisis, but in the case of quinoa and probably also some other products, it definitely had effect. For sure the production of food for animals and trying to artificially maintain prices by destroying crops, are the biggest problems when it comes to global balance and food crisis.

Hope to chat with you soon!